I totally get parents wanting to make their kids’ dreams come true. We want to give them everything and all the hopes that they can achieve those dreams. But a mom last night really ticked off just about everyone.
Ever since I saw Idina Menzel in Rent I have been a HUGE fan. Being military, I’ve never had the luck to get to see anyone in concert as I’d move away right before they’d come within driving distance. When I lived in Texas, I read all of the Wicked novels by Gregory Maguire. Then I found the soundtrack to the Broadway musical and played it in the car one day. Eli fell in love with Idina Menzel as Elphaba and ever since, he’s been dying to meet her. We managed to make it to one of the Broadway shows, but it was just after she had left the musical (just our luck again). The musical was still amazing, but we were a bit bummed to have just missed her. Well, last year I heard about her world tour starting up and lo and behold, looking at her schedule, I found out she would be nearby TWICE! Richmond is only about an hour from here and she was there back in July, and then she was also going to be in Norfolk last night. Since Norfolk is closer to us, we decided to buy tickets to that concert. I could only afford to get us midway in the Orchestra seating. Eli didn’t mind, he was just excited to get to go. So, last night me, him, and his older brother all headed down to Chrysler Hall in Norfolk for the concert. We got seated and waited for Idina to make her way to the stage. And when she did come out, her first song was “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked musical. Eli was singing right along with the song at the top of his lungs. Eli (at the moment) is aspiring to be a singer and songwriter so this isn’t embarrassing to him at all, FYI. Anyway, so he’s thrilled obviously. She goes on to sing another few songs before she comes to “Take me for who I am” from the musical Rent. About midway through she got off stage and said “hey this is a duet, I need someone else to sing with me.” (ok maybe I’m paraphrasing there, but close enough) Her biggest rule though about raising your hand (Eli’s hand had shot up instantly) was you absolutely had to know the song. Makes sense, duh.
I leaned over to Eli and said “I don’t think you really know this song, put your hand down and let someone else sing with her.” He pouted a second, replying “well I know SOME of it!!” But for the sake of her asking for someone who knew the lyrics, I told him just to sing along in the audience then. Well, a mom raises her daughter’s hand and Idina brings the girl down (another girl had also been called up). She asks her name and if she knows the song. The girl says NO! Idina asked if she had told her mom that and the girl replied yes! Idina, bless her heart, told her to sing a song then that she did know and this little girl belted out “Popular” (also from the musical Wicked although it’s actually sung by Glinda, not Elphaba). She did a great job! Idina sends her back to her mom and tells mom to not push her into things like that, she’ll be fine on her own with a voice like that. She then pulls a gentleman down and the three of them (the first lady, the gentleman, and Idina) all go on stage and sing the rest of this song from Rent. Eli was so bummed after that girl ended up going up there that he hadn’t been allowed to raise his hand. I even felt bad, since he did know some of the song. But I stand by the fact that I did what was right. Later on she asked some of the kids from the audience to go down and sing “Let it Go” with her on stage. Now, Eli isn’t a huge fan of the song (he thinks it’s too girly, of course) but I did let him go down there to do that one. A bunch of the kids were able to push up to hug her after she finished, but Eli didn’t do that. He came back to our seats and just grinned. I guess it was close enough to make him happy.
I’m all about trying to help my kids achieve their dreams. My oldest wants to be a professional violinist and as I mentioned, Eli wants to be a singer and songwriter. But that mom really just proved to me that there are parents who will do virtually anything to get their kid seen. It’s unfortunate because Eli might have done really well had I allowed him to raise his hand. For now though, I’m just going to remain content in the fact I did what I believed to be the right thing to do, he was ok with singing “Let it Go” near her, and maybe one day I will be able to snag an autograph from her or something to give him as a birthday present. And to the people who were sitting in front of us, I won’t apologize for the fact that Eli really did sing along to virtually every song Idina sang. For a 10yr old little boy, he was happy with just doing that and that’s all I can really ask for.